Can Gaming Be Your Side Gig?

Can Gaming Be Your Side Gig Way to make money by playing games

With the rise of the so-called “gig economy,” a lot of young people today seek out part-time work from which they can generate a side income. This is true of students, graduate students, and young professionals alike, and can involve anything from freelance writing to running a small business.

In a past article about how medical students can make money, however, we alluded to one particularly interesting avenue: gaming.

In the aforementioned article, we mentioned specifically that gaming might be a suitable subject for a YouTube channel that could potentially generate income. And if you happen to be an avid gamer, or you have a unique perspective or engaging theme related to the activity, this can certainly be the case!

Relatedly, however, some young people today also look to generate “gig” income directly from gaming. So in this piece, we wanted to look at a few different ways in which this can (in theory) be done.

5 Effective Ways To Make Money By Playing Games

1. eSports

For many, thinking of playing games as a potential earning opportunity will call eSports to mind. If you aren’t familiar with the term, eSports basically refers to professional gaming, in which people can earn anything from a thousand dollars a month to –– at the very high end –– millions.

To understand what chances you have to turn eSports into a side gig though, it’s best to understand how eSports athletes earn money. Basically, they do so through six avenues: cash prizes, team salaries, digital streaming, sponsorship, media rights, and merchandise and ticket sales.

So, ask yourself: Are you likely to cash in through these means while treating gaming as a part-time gig?

For most, the answer will be no. That said, if you have a talent for a given game, you may find that you can occasionally earn a cash prize at a smaller event, or build up a streaming following worth a small amount of cash.

2. Poker

Poker is another form of gaming altogether from which some generate side income. And in this case, amounts vary even more greatly. A fairly casual player who profits might bring in anywhere from $50 to $50,000 in a given month (though unless you’re an experienced expert, that upper range is very unlikely). The real issues here, however, are availability and risk.

Regarding availability, it’s important to remember that only some states allow online poker with real money on the table. Specifically, those states are Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, and Connecticut.

In these states, you’ll find online platforms like 888poker, WSOP, and Americas Cardroom through which you can play for cash. Even if you have access however, it’s vital to remember that every time you play, you risk loss as well. Even with proper strategy and a knack for the game, chance is involved.

All in all, poker should not be viewed as a cash gig. But it is a hobby through which you might earn some side money.

3. Casinos

Full online casinos offer wider ranges of games than poker sites –– including blackjack, roulette, slot machines, and more. Like poker however, online casino play is only available in a handful of states (specifically Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Connecticut).

And in this case, risk is an even greater factor. It’s true that some games, like blackjack, can be played with a degree of mathematical strategy –– and even offer near-50/50 odds of winning. By and large though, online casinos are run by random number generators and similar technologies, and wins are based on luck.

Thus, we cannot recommend casinos as appropriate gaming “side gigs.”

4. Play-to-Earn

While eSports may come to mind first for people looking into gaming as a gig, play-to-earn is arguably the trendier option. If you haven’t learned about it yet, the concept of play-to-earn gaming is essentially that there are new video games using blockchain technology to “reward gamers with cryptocurrency” and NFTs.

This can be done in numerous ways; a game might log a player’s activity, or a player might gather resources over time. One way or another though, the idea is that the more you play, the more rewards you can earn. And those rewards can be traded or sold in the real world for cash.

Play-to-earn is a fairly new concept, and one that’s evolving rapidly. As of this writing though, some of the popular titles in the space include Axie Infiinty, Star Atlas, The Sandbox, and Alien Worlds. And while these games operate in different ways, each one does offer real earning opportunity.

If you enjoy them, you may well find that you’re able to profit from them. Just remember to measure your expectations. To earn significant side income from play-to-earn games, you’ll need to devote your time accordingly.

5. Streaming

Finally, there is still the streaming option we’ve alluded to previously. Today, gamers who are able to build up followings online can earn money by streaming their activity –– whether through subscription, sponsorship, or ad placement.

It’s easier said than done, and you’ll need a unique angle or special proficiency with a game to garner a following you can tap into for income. But if you meet those conditions, game streaming is a viable side gig.

All in all, it’s rare for gaming to be an appropriate way to earn money. In some cases, the time commitment is simply too great, and in others there is risk involved.

If you are already an avid gamer however, or you have particular skill in a given type of game, there are some avenues through which you can generate income.

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